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Police Release Report on School Arrests

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 08:55 AM

The city made 327 arrests at the city's schools this winter, just over five a day, and handed out 555 summons, according to new data released by the New York Police Department.

It was a slight uptick from the 279 students arrested during the 55 school days between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2011.

The numbers were the third set of data released by the Police Department in compliance with the Student Safety Act, which the City Council passed in 2010 after complaints from groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union that officers moved too quickly to arrest students for minor infractions. The law requires the department to release data on school arrests, summons and noncriminal incidents.

The summons were for violations like disorderly conduct, carrying knives and possession of marijuana. More than half the summonses were issued in the Bronx, which has 21 percent of the city’s students.

Black students, who make up about a third of public middle- and high-school students, accounted for 64 percent of the arrests this winter. They made up 60 percent of arrests in the fall period.

Students who were 16 or 17 were the most likely to be arrested, but three 11-year-olds and seven 12-year-olds were arrested as well — including one for assault in the second degree.

Donna Lieberman, the executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, which received the data from the Police Department and released it to reporters on Wednesday, said the arrest numbers represented the “continuation of an alarming trend in the New York City public schools.”

Though many of the arrests were for serious crimes — including assault, robbery and sexual abuse — Ms. Lieberman said many of the summonses were issued for “what appears to be minor transgressions that ought to be dealt with by educators,” like disorderly conduct.

“There’s no way that disorderly conduct is something that should require the police,” she said.

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